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US researchers have found that the annual rate of HIV diagnoses, which are treatable, witnessed a significant decline by more than 30 percent over a 10-year period between 2002 and 2011.
It was reported that the estimated percentage change year-over-year for the mentioned period was 4 percent on an average. 4, 93, 372 Americans were diagnosed with HIV over that period.
The study was led by Anna Satcher Johnson of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and his colleagues.
Johnson and colleagues presented the findings at the International AIDS Conference. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The pattern of groups fallen prey to the fatal virus was quite different this time. While the rate fell significantly for most groups, it witnessed a significant rise among gay and transgender community, particularly among men between the age group 13 and 24.
The rate of diagnoses rose in men who had sex with other men over the 10-year period, the researchers said.
According to the CDC estimates, there are about 50,000 new HIV cases per year. However, all cases are not immediately diagnosed.
According to the experts, men who have sex with other men and engage in unprotected risk behaviors can drive HIV transmission.
To understand the HIV influencing pattern, the researchers studied data from the National HIV Surveillance System of CDC. They tried to find out the HIV infection diagnosed between 2002 and 2011 among those who were 13 or older. Poisson regression with no covariates was used to estimate annual percentage changes.
Findings of the study
• While the overall rate of HIV diagnoses per 100,000 population in 2002 was 24.1, it was just 16.1 in 2011.
• The estimated change was a drop of 4 percent a year.
• There was a drop in rates in both men (35.8 to 26.1 per 100,000) and women (13.0 to 6.6 per 100,000).
• The rate of diagnosis fell for all age groups except those who were between the age group 13 and 24.
• The percentage changes were a decline of 27.1 percent (for men) and 49.2 percent (for women), with respective annual changes of minus 3.1 percent and minus 6.6 percent.
• In 2003, the rate per 100,000 increased from 12.5 percent among young people to 17.3 percent in 2011. This was an increase of 38.4 percent.
• The estimate rate rose by 4.6 percent annually.
• The rate among gays overall was stable.
• There were also rise among the age group 45 and 54 (a 5.3 percent rise) and those 55 and older (a rise of 18.5 percent).
“Our study found overall decreases in annual diagnosis rates despite the implementation of testing initiatives during the period of analysis,” the researcher found.
The researchers also warned that the trends in diagnoses can be influenced by changes in testing, which was expanded during the study period. The researchers, however, said that they expected effect of such an expansion would be an increase in diagnoses.
Last week, the United Nations had announced that there were over 2 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2013. This is 38 percent less than the statistics from 2001. The epidemic of AIDS decreased in the US in comparison to other countries worldwide.